Tag Archive | Holidays

Merry Armenian Christmas — Orthodox Christmas

Armenia

Armenians celebrate Christmas (surb tsnunt, Սուրբ Ծնունդ, meaning “saint birth”) on January 6 as a public holiday in Armenia. It also coincides with the Epiphany. Traditionally, Armenians fast during the week leading up to Christmas. Devout Armenians may even refrain from food for the three days leading up to the Christmas Eve, in order to receive the Eucharist on a “pure” stomach. Christmas Eve is particularly rich in traditions. Families gather for the Christmas Eve dinner (khetum, Խթում), which generally consists of: rice, fish, nevik (նուիկ, a vegetable dish of green chard and chick peas), and yogurt/wheat soup (tanabur, թանապուր). Dessert includes dried fruits and nuts, including rojik, which consists of whole shelled walnuts threaded on a string and encased in grape jelly, bastukh (a paper-like confection of grape jelly, cornstarch, and flour), etc. This lighter menu is designed to ease the stomach off the week-long fast and prepare it for the rather more substantial Christmas Day dinner. Children take presents of fruits, nuts, and other candies to older relatives.

It is frequently asked as to why Armenians do not celebrate Christmas on December 25 with the rest of the world. Obviously, the exact date of Christ’s birth has not been historically established—it is not recorded in the Gospels. However, historically, all Christian churches celebrated Christ’s birth on January 6 until the fourth century. According to Roman Catholic sources, the date was changed from January 6 to December 25 in order to override a pagan feast dedicated to the birth of the Sun which was celebrated on December 25. At the time Christians used to continue their observance of these pagan festivities. In order to undermine and subdue this pagan practice, the church hierarchy designated December 25 as the official date of Christmas and January 6 as the feast of Epiphany. However, Armenia was not affected by this change for the simple fact that there were no such pagan practices in Armenia, on that date, and the fact that the Armenian Church was not a satellite of the Roman Church. Thus, remaining faithful to the traditions of their forefathers, Armenians have continued to celebrate Christmas on January 6 until today.[42]

In addition to the Christmas tree (tonatsar, Տօնածառ), Armenians (particularly in the Middle East) also erect the Nativity scene. Christmas in the Armenian tradition is a purely religious affair. Santa Claus does not visit the nice Armenian children on Christmas, but rather on New Year’s Eve. The idea of Santa Claus existed before the Soviet Union and he was named kaghand papik (Կաղանդ Պապիկ), but the Soviet Union had a great impact even on Santa Claus. Now he goes by the more secular name of Grandfather Winter (dzmerr papik, Ձմեռ Պապիկ).

CREDITS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_worldwide

Welcome 2014! Happy New Year!

Hello everyone, Now that 2013 is behind us, looking forward to brand new year, a fresh start, another 365 days. I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year 2014. I wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, prosperous, successful year. Wishing you the best, and may 2014 be full of love, great and happy surprises, great memories and so much more. What are your plans for 2014? What are your resolutions? Do you keep up with your resolutions? What changes do you want to see? We can all make a difference in the world if we all pitch in and do our best to make this world a better place.

Are you planning to travel in 2014? lets see what 2014 has in store for all of us. I hope that everything will go well and we will go through another year. I know every year, we have our ups and downs and things always change in a year, but I hope that everything will be ups for everyone. I cannot believe 2013 is over. It went by so quickly. It seems just like yesterday we were celebrating 2013, but now onto another year. It seems like every passing year, time and the days are going by quicker and quicker.

This year I plan to attain, and accomplish many goals I have already set out. I do a lot of reflection the last week of the year thinking about what to do for the year ahead. Well, Goodbye 2013. Welcome 2014!

Wrapping up 2013 – Highlights of My Year

Wow, what a year it has been. Today is the last day of 2013, and there have been ups and downs, but mostly ups, and I have been so blessed in the past year with such incredible and beautiful Highlights, that I will never forget and I usually jot down all of my highlights in a note so that I can look back to see what I have accomplished, where I traveled, and other important days to remember. Here are the highlights of my year:

Did a Bit of Traveling by air and on the road — traveled to Dominican Republic, Boston, Massachusetts, (Had a Layover at the airport in Newark, New Jersey when I was landing I saw New York City — Yes I consider that A place I went to and saw this year), Visited Michigan, Cambridge, Ontario, and Niagara Falls.

When I visited Dominican Republic in Santo Domingo, went to the Be Live Hamaca Resort where I met incredible and lovely people and we became friends. It was a great gathering.

I had always wanted to go and eat and drink at “CHEERS” Bar in Boston, Massachusetts, It was an iconic TV Show from back in the day in the 80’s and 90’s, and I scratched that off my bucket list. Thank you to my kouyrigs/sisters in Boston for making that possible and for making that happen. Had Nachos and Beer there. Its a must to have The Cheers beer.

I visited the iconic and popular University of Harvard, touched John Harvard’s Shoe. toured Harvard Square and its vicinity, and ended up Graduating (lol)

Mastered the Boston Accent — MASTAHD THAH BAHSTAN ACCENT

Tried Sushi for the first time ever in the summer and I loved it. Now cannot get enough of it. Thank you to someone who is very dear to me, who introduced sushi, sashimi, maki rolls and so much more in the Japanese Cuisine.

Had the best lobster ever at the Lobster Pool in Massachusetts. I also dined at the Cheesecake factory

Went to a few parties here and there.

Attended Bible Studies and Conferences

Went to the Armenian Toronto Summer fest with my great friend, but I call her my sister from Montreal that I did not see for a while. It was a great reunion.

I am proud to say that this year one of my friends became a Contestant on Jeopardy and I can finally say I know someone who was a contestant on Jeopardy.

Met some of my Online Facebook friends in person, whom are like family to me now.

My Blog and Social Media and marketing success went through a roof, where I got an offer to write recipes in the Food and Drink Magazine, I have Robert Herjavec, Kevin O’Leary, Arlene Dickensen, and Jim Treliving subscribed to my blog. They are from Dragons, Den, I have reached close to 400,000 blog hits, Famous chefs such as Massimo Capra, Jamie Oliver, and Jacques Pepin and more have followed me as well. My LinkedIn Profile has been seen and followed by Arlene Dickensen. Plus so many people around the Globe have viewed and followed my blog from places I had never even heard about. Many people have added my blog site to their websites. So many more highlights that I cannot even remember them all. Thank you all for the support, and I will continue doing my work in 2014 and beyond.

I have written over 700 Articles.

Accomplished many personal goals and achieved excellence

All My cousins and I reunited for the first time since 1999, the summer I came back from Armenia.

Here is to 2014, with many more highlights to come.
Have a lovely New Year and best wishes, Health and happiness.

Thousands Still Without Power in Wake of Ice Storm in Toronto

On December 21st, 2013 a major Ice Storm hit havoc across Southern Ontario, and mainly in Toronto and Greater Toronto Area’s, that left hundreds of thousands of Hydro Electricity Customers out of power and thousands of people are still without power at this moment. Trees and branches hit power lines which left peoples electricity crippled. This is unlike anything the City of Toronto and Southern Ontario has seen before, and in the history of Storms, this is the worst ever weather that walloped in our area. Homes have hit the all time low temperatures in their homes. some at -2 temperatures, that even blankets are not able to keep people warm. Across the cities that have been effected, have warming stations where people can come spend the night, sleep over, have some warm and hot food and beverages. Some have started to get frustrated and some have become so cold that they cannot handle it anymore. I know that it is frustrating and I know that its not a great thing, but Hydro workers are doing the best they can and are working around the clock to get these Electricity transformers working again. I know some are running out of patience, but what can you do? It will take time, but I am sure that things will get back to normal by the weekend. Do not lose hope. Things will work out for the better. Believe me.

Earlier this week, there was a loud boom like an explosion going off, and there have been many reports saying we heard a loud boom, some said that It is Santa Claus on the roofs of the houses, some thought it was a tree that hit the roof, little did people know that there was a Frost Quake that hit and that only happens at extreme cold temperatures after an Ice Storm hits or when there is extreme frost. It rarely happens, but its surely scared a lot of residents and woke a lot of people up. It was heard in the middle of the night into the wee hours in the morning. I hope everyone stays safe and if there is no urgency to go out or do things, do not go out. Stay home, be warm and I hope that those people who do not have power get their power soon and hopefully by today. Hope it can be some sort of New Years Miracle.

 

The Toronto Ice Storm and Areas Around – Be Careful Out There

On Saturday December 21st, 2013, on the first official day of winter, a terrible ice storm hit the City of Toronto, GTA, and areas around, where over 300,000 homes were and are still without power, knocking down tree branches, trees, sparks from hydro electrical wires, and making it very dangerous for driving and being out and about. Many places have closed stores, restaurants and even churches were cancelled as Sunday approached. Many trees and other surfaces have thick layers of ice due to the rain, freezing rain and ice pellets that hit the ground.  Many people have put their skates on and started skating on the roads and on their driveways in the city, many pictures show that trees have been toppled on cars, driveways, and roadways creating havoc, blockage and so much more. Winter has hit Ontario, Canada very early this year and it has been a month of active weather with snow, sleet, and very cold conditions. We are officially in winter now, and we still have about 3 more months to deal with this all. This is the first time Toronto has been hit with an ice storm and it is the worst in History as it has been reported on television today.

Hope that people can get electricity restored in time for Christmas. This is not something people want to deal with before Christmas begins. Hopefully food in peoples fridge does not get spoiled, and hopefully people’s plans will not be put on hold. I pray that everything goes back to normal. Electricity is something that is so important and of value to people. I cannot imagine how people used to go without electricity back in the olden days. I want to say to people to stay safe during this active winter weather, and if you do not have to drive out if its not so important, please stay indoors, keep warm, and keep off the roads, and if you know any elderly people who live around you or have elderly people in your family, do keep in touch with them to make sure they are okay, and if they need anything or need to be with anybody right now, its a good idea to look after them and as well as anybody else who needs anything.

At times like this it truly shows peoples great heart and love for others to help them during this difficult time in this terrible ice storm. Its very great to be seeing people helping each other on the news on the residential streets, and giving each other a helping hand with clearing off the tree branches from the streets, and so much more. Hope all goes well and things will workout for the better in the end.

My Christmas Movie Favorites

For the past month or two, we may or may not have seen all the classic Christmas movies that have been airing on television and some of the Christmas movies stand out for me and are tradition for me to watch annually, and I never miss watching them. I enjoy watching them with having some popcorn, drinking hot chocolate, putting a blanket on me, and enjoying them with family and friends. These movies are wonderfully and tastefully done and I really enjoy them. Here are my favorite Christmas movie’s in no particular order.

1. Home Alone

2. Home Alone 2 Lost in New York

3. Santa Clause 1 and 2

4. Jack Frost

5. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

6. Four Christmases

7. Jingle All the Way

8. Miracle on 34th St

9. Christmas with the Cranks

10. Elf

11. Frosty the Snowman

12. How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

13. A Charlie Brown Christmas

14. The Muppet Christmas Carol

What are your favorite Christmas movies? What is your Christmas Movie tradition?

Would love to hear from you. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2014.

In The Kitchen With Stefano Faita

Recently, I discovered an incredible, wonderful and not to mention great looking chef on television on CBC. I was flipping through the channels one time and I really enjoy cooking shows, so I stopped on CBC’s channel while I saw this cooking show, and I saw that it was In The Kitchen with Stefano Faita, so I started to watch his cooking show, and I automatically knew it was a show I would like then I began to love it. I cannot wait to watch his show daily and especially, by the way Chef Stefano explains the way to cook food, incredibly easy methods, very tasty, full of flavour foods of which I like. I love to cook myself and I can tell that he is not afraid of adding a lot of flavour and he is always enthusiastic and excited when it comes to food.

This past week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Chef Stefano Faita during his chat that he had set up for his fans to ask him questions, and he gave me tips and tricks on what to do with stir fry when it becomes too liquidy, to always make sure my wok is hot and to make sure the liquid from the meat and vegetables dry out before putting in the soya sauce or whatever seasoning , and I had also asked him how to make pasta from scratch and he explained it to me thoroughly and I got to see his recipes and he answered me so quickly because it was an hour chat with him. He seems to be such a great person all around and I am so glad I got that moment to talk with him. I’d love to meet Chef Stefano Faita someday and enjoy his food that he makes with his magic chef hands. I am really impressed, and there are foods and ingredients that I never knew of until I learned them from Stefano. I enjoy chopping, dicing and the way he handles food. He is a natural.

I have learned so much about cooking from him that, I cannot wait to try his recipes at home to feed my family, friends and when people come over whether it’s for the holidays, occasions or for no reason, just to hang out with great company and great food in the mix, that will keep people coming back for more as Stefano says while he is cooking on Television.

You can catch In The Kitchen with Stefano Faita on CBC at 3:30pm Monday-Friday’s  in Canada or you can go to www.cbc.ca/inthekitchen to obtain more information, Stefano’s recipes, and where you can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and more. You can also go to a taping of his show and be part of his audience. I wish Stefano Faita the best and May you continue working with those Magic Chef hands that you are so gifted with.